Thursday, November 14, 2019

Race/Identify Learning Report

Ten percent of parents say they often have conversations with their children -- ages 3 to 12 -- about race and identity, according to a recent report. A parent’s race impacts how often these conversations are happening. Twenty-two percent of black parents discuss race often with their children, compared to 6 percent of white parents. About 35% of parents say they never speak with their children about social class, the report states. Experts say this trend can have serious implications, because when adults don’t talk to kids about these topics, kids learn that identity is a taboo topic. They may also start to believe the stereotypes and biases they’re presented with in everyday life.
Kotler, J., Haider, T., & Levine, M. (2019). Identity matters. New York, NY: Sesame Workshop.


Friday, November 8, 2019

Brain and math study

Brain activity in male and female students ages 3 to 10 years old is largely similar when they are engaged in math tasks, according to a report released today in the journal Science of Learning. Researchers said they have, however, identified gender differences in high-level mathematical thinking. However, brain differences are not the reason. Researchers suspect the answer involves the societal messages girls and young women get, and the difficulty of entering a field that includes very few women. Males, especially if less strong in reading, lean to STEM; girls have more options so do not feel they have to enter STEM careers if they come from wealthier families.
Cantlon, J. (2019). Gender similarities in the brain during mathematics development. Science of Learning, 4, 19.

Kersey, A. J., Wakim, K. M., Li, R., & Cantlon, J. F. (2019). Developing, mature, and unique functions of the child’s brain in reading and mathematics. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 39, 100684.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Transformative Technology Study

Transformative technology has the edge in teaching over substitutive technology, meaning students learn more when technology is used not to replace pencils and paper to do similar tasks, but rather when tech is used to reshape the projects themselves, a report from Gallup finds. This includes allowing students to choose what they learn, discuss topics without a clear answer and work on multidisciplinary projects.
Gallup. (2019). Creativity in learning. Washington, DC: Gallup.

Computer literacy report

     The average score among students in 12 countries on a computer and information literacy exam was 496, on a scale from 100 to 700, according to a recent study. The US students' average score was 519, but data shows that while students grow up as digital natives they may lack sophisticated digital literacy.  US students are less skilled at creating algorithms or debugging them when problems arise. Seventy percent of students across countries attended schools where digital resources connected to textbooks was available, but 32% of teachers reported using such content. 
     Gender differences were apparent for both computer and information literacy and for computational thinking, but they varied. In the computer and information literacy section, females outscored males on average and in most of the countries. But in computational thinking, males consistently scored higher than females.
     “Confidence, and crucially, competence, in the use of digital devices is of vital importance globally,” Dirk Hastedt, IEA executive director, said in a statement. “It is essential that young people are taught these skills at schools, and that their teachers are well supported in delivering this bedrock of modern education.” The findings confirm other recent studies in the U.S. showing students can be easily misled by digital media messages.
Fraillon, J. (2019). International Computer and Information Literacy Study. Amsterdam: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Digital literacy and computational thinking survey

The United States participated in the 2018 International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS), which assesses 8th-grade students in two domains: computer and information literacy (CIL) and computational thinking (CT). It also compares U.S. students’ skills and experience using technology to that of students in other education systems and provides information on factors such as teachers’ experiences and school resources that may influence students’ CIL and CT skills. This information is especially relevant today, since building strong foundations for STEM literacy, including CT, has been identified as one of the three goals in the White House’s 5-year STEM education strategic plan, “Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education.”

As the results show, U.S. 8th-grade students’ average score in CIL was higher than the ICILS 2018 average, while the U.S. average score in CT was not significantly different from the ICILS 2018 average. In the United States, female 8th-grade students outperformed their male peers in CIL, but male 8th-grade students outperformed female students in CT. Also, U.S. 8th-grade students with 2 or more computers at home performed better in both CIL and CT than their U.S. peers with fewer computers. Among U.S. 8th-grade students, 72 percent reported using the Internet to do research every school day or at least once a week, and 65 percent reported teaching themselves how to find information on the Internet.

About half of U.S. 8th-grade teachers reported using information and communications technologies (ICT) in teaching. Eighty-six percent of U.S. 8th-grade teachers strongly agreed or agreed that ICT was considered a priority for use in teaching at their schools. Compared with the ICILS 2018 averages, higher percentages of U.S. 8th-grade teachers reported participating in eight out of nine professional learning activities related to ICT.

Click on the questions below for more details. The technical notes for the 2018 ICILS, additional informationthe questionnaires, FAQs and the full international report, International Computer and Information Literacy Study, are also available.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Recently a study considered strategies that can help close achievement gaps and get students learning at grade level. The study -- which included an examination of personalized learning versus rigorous curricula -- found that struggling students can improve if they have caring relationships with their teachers, an environment that nurtures agency and access to quality and coherent content, among other factors.
Bellwether Education Partners. (2018). The opportunity myth. New York, NY: TNTP.

Growth Mindset Studies

A survey on growth mindset was sent to a national sample of more than 600 K-12 teachers. The study was designed to examine teachers’ perspectives, professional development and training, and classroom practices.Educators believe growth mindset has great potential for teaching and learning. Nearly all survey respondents (98%) agree that using growth mindset in the classroom will lead to improved student learning. Nearly as many report that it will improve the quality of their instruction.
However, putting growth mindset into practice poses significant challenges. Only 20 percent of teachers strongly believe they are good at fostering a growth mindset in their own students. They have even less confidence in their fellow teachers and school administrators. And just one in five say they have deeply integrated growth mindset into their teaching practice.
Mindset in the classroom. (2016). Bethesda, MD:  Editorial Projects in Education. 

Any student's self-confidence can take a hit at the start of high school. Yet giving students even a brief opportunity to understand and reflect on their mindsets for learning can make them likelier to challenge themselves and improve, finds a new national study. It found that two sessions of a 25-minute online task at the start of freshman year could boost students’ grades and willingness to take advanced classes. Specifically, researchers found low-performing students who participated in the exercise developed a stronger “growth mindset”—the belief that skills are developed over time and through effort, rather than being innate and “fixed.” By the end of freshman year, low-performing students who had participated had higher grade point averages, both in core academic classes and specifically in math and science courses, which prior research has suggested may be more likely to trigger a fixed mindset.
Yeager, D.S., Hanselman, P., Walton, G.M. et al. (2019). A national experiment reveals where a growth mindset improves achievement. Nature, 573, 364–369.

Academic Progress Report

The latest results of the tests known as the Nation's Report Card offer a mostly grim view of academic progress in U.S. schools."Over the past decade, there has been no progress in either mathematics or reading performance, and the lowest-performing students are doing worse," said Peggy Carr, the associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the NAEP. "In fact, over the long term in reading, the lowest-performing students—those readers who struggle the most—have made no progress from the first NAEP administration almost 30 years ago." Since 2017, reading performance has dropped significantly across grades 4 and 8, with math performance mixed. Some racial achievement gaps closed—in part because of falling scores among white students—and gaps between struggling and high-achieving students continued to widen.
National Assessment of Educational Progress. (2019). the nation's report card. Washington, DC: Author.

Middle School Tech Access Report

Only one in five middle-school students have access to technology such as animations, simulations and virtual labs, according to a new report. The data show that while Chromebooks are the most popular tool used by students in the classroom, 61% are still using their own devices to complete assignments.
Evans, J. (2019).  Digital learning: Peril or promise for our K-12 students. Irvine, CA: Project Tomorrow.

Student Engagement Survey

Student engagement and hope have a positive effect on students' academic achievement, according to a Gallup survey. A separate Gallup study also found that better engagement can improve students' behavior.
Gallup. (2019). Engagement and hope positively influence student outcomes. Washington, DC: Gallup.

High-Quality School Librarians Research

New research examines the question, "how do we define a high-quality school librarian?" The researchers explores research about high-quality teachers and how it can inform studies investigating school librarians' impact on student outcomes.
Kimmel, S. et al. (2019).  The Preparation and Certification of School Librarians: Using Causal Educational Research about Teacher Characteristics to Probe Facets of Effectiveness.
School Library Research

Monday, October 21, 2019

Web search results study

In July 2019, for the first time, the majority of all browsed-based Google searches resulted in zero clicks away from the results page; google's functionality keeps users within the Google ecosystem rather than reffing them outside. 94% of all search engine searches happen on a Google property.
Fishkin, R. (2019, August 13). Less than half of Google searches now result in a click. SparkToro.

Factors impacting Student Achievement Research

Students in high-poverty school districts learn as much during the school year as their peers in more affluent districts, according to a nationwide study of 3000 students. Researchers found that achievement gaps may be fueled more by nonacademic barriers -- hunger, unstable housing, violence in the home -- that some students face outside of school.
Downey, D.. Workman, J., & von Hippel, P. (2019). Socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and gender gaps in children's social/behavioral skills: do they grow faster in school or out? Sociological Science, 6, 446-466.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Teen Suicide Study

Researchers reported that the rate of US adolescents and young adults ages 10 to 24 who died from suicide rose by 56% between 2007 and 2017, the highest increase of any age group. The study also showed that the rate of youth homicide mortality increased by 18% from 2014 to 2017, following a 23% decline from 2007 to 2014. Suicide has become the second-most common cause of death among teenagers and young adults, overtaking homicide and outpaced only by accidents.
Curtin, S. (2019). Death rates due to suicide and homicide among persons aged 10-24.  Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Teacher Tech Training Need Study

Thirty-nine percent of teachers need greater training to effectively use education technology, but administrators assert that tight budgets and competing priorities are preventing them from making such investments, according to a recent survey. The research also found that teachers want to use more technology in the classroom and expect the use of cloud-based lesson delivery, virtual reality and other tech to increase over the next five years. Administrators identify connectivity and hardware issues as other major reasons for why more technology is not getting adopted in schools and districts, and communications with teachers is also barrier. When it comes to educators in the classroom, 77 percent of teachers who use different ed tech tools are not involved in the budgetary decision-making process.
The state of technology. (2019). Alpharetta, GA: Promethean.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Inquiry-Based Learning Study

A massive experiment involving 17,000 students in four countries finds gains for inquiry-, or problem-based teaching over traditional approaches. Introducing math and science through inquiry and problem-based instruction can pay off throughout elementary school. However, while both boys and girls improved in inquiry-based classes, the researchers found that boys improved faster, widening the gender achievement gap.
Bando, R., Näslund-Hadley, E., & Gertler, P. (2019). Effect of Inquiry and Problem Based Pedagogy on Learning: Evidence from 10 Field Experiments in Four Countries (No. w26280). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Views on classroom tech study

A survey from the University of Waterloo found that 68% of faculty don't like students using phones during class and 32% disapprove of laptops, saying that noneducational use of technology distracts from their teaching. Students, however, felt it was their choice to use such technology in class, with some saying they expected professors to be entertaining enough to earn their attention.
Neiterman, E., Zaza, C. (2019).A mixed blessing? Students' and instructors' perspectives about off-task technology use in the academic classroom. Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of the Teaching and Learning, 10(1).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Fan Fiction Study

Students who resist creative-writing prompts in English class might enjoy writing in someone else's fictional world, a genre known as fan fiction. Researchers say the positive feedback and mentoring often present in online fan fiction communities encourage novice writers of all ages to polish their skills, while engaging in an activity that feels like play rather than work.
Beck, J. (2019, Oct. 1). What fan fiction teaches that the classroom doesn't. Atlantic.

Reading Instruction Studies

Much research has been conducted on the science of reading instruction. This article details several studies, including those showing the benefits of explicit phonics instruction, particularly for students who struggle to read. A few findings follow.
  • Children learn to understand speech through exposure to language and dialogue.
  • Learning phonological skills such as rhyming, alliteration, alphabet letters, knowing numbers, sequencing, remembering information facilitate learning to read.  
  • To read, they learn to connect oral and written language, depending on the orthographic and spelling rules. 
  • The best phonics programs are systematic. Sight works are also effective (e.g., were, one, friend). 
  • Reading with PK predicts elementary school level reading skill. 
  • Reading print differs from reading digitally. 
Schwartz, S., & Sparks, S. (2019, October 2). How do kids learn to read? What the science says. Education Week.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Study on Typical Teen Hackers

A new study concludes that many hacker kids tend to have the same qualities as other children who engage in more traditional troubled behavior out in the real, offline world. Low-self control is one of the biggest predictive factors in whether or not students are likely to turn to cybercrime, the researchers found. They may have had other additional involvement in digital piracy. Boys are more likely to hack, and they have different motivations for hacking than girls. Boys are more likely to turn to become hackers if they use drugs, spend a lot of time watching television, or play a tons of computer games. And girls are more likely to turn to cybercrime if they hang out with other kids who shoplift or engage in other types of petty theft. They're also more likely to become hackers if their friends like to frighten or intimidate people "just for fun."

Other risk factors are environmental. Student hackers of both sexes are more likely to have parents who are of higher socio-economic status , and live in small towns or rural areas where there are fewer activities and less structured time.
Holt, T. J., Navarro, J. N., & Clevenger, S. (2019). Exploring the Moderating Role of Gender in Juvenile Hacking Behaviors. Crime & Delinquency.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Digital content survey

Conducted online among ASCD members, this report aimed to collect information in order to better understand the usage and attitudes toward digital content in the classroom and school library in 2019. This 2019 study focuses on current usage habits and future plans, as well as administrators' mindsets as they make their decisions on digital content going forward.
Digital content report. (2019). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Screen Time Use and Academics Study

Not all screen time is created equal, according to a review of 58 studies from 23 countries published recently. The review found that time students spent watching television and playing video games -- rather than time spent on the internet and using mobile phones -- negatively affected academics. Watching more TV impacted language and math abilities as well as an overall academic composite for teens; just language and math abilities were impacted in younger children. Teen scores appeared to be worse than those of younger children when the amount of time spent watching TV went up. On average, a typical child plays video games for 40 minutes a day and watches between 1.8 and 2.8 hours of TV each day. Almost a third of children and adolescents spend more than four hours a day on screens, with boys outpacing girls.
Adelantado-Renau M, Moliner-Urdiales D, Cavero-Redondo I, Beltran-Valls MR, Martínez-Vizcaíno V, Álvarez-Bueno C. (2019, Sept. 23). Association Between Screen Media Use and Academic Performance Among Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis . JAMA Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.3176

Monday, September 23, 2019

Internet Nonconnectivity Impact study

From the benefits of teaching lifelong digital citizenship skills to the challenges of preparing students to critically evaluate online information, educators across the country share their perspectives on what it's like to teach in today's fast-changing digital world. Nevertheless, about 12% of teachers said that more than 60% of students lack the home internet connectivity needed to complete their homework, according to a recent report.  In response, about 42% of teachers at high-poverty schools said they avoid assigning homework that would require an internet connection.
The Common Sense Census: Inside the 21st century classroom. (2019).  San Francisco, CA: Common Sense Media.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Large print books benefits study

Large-print books may aid students' reading comprehension, according to a survey of 3-12th grade students, teachers and librarians by Project Tomorrow on behalf of Gale's Thorndike Press. The large-print books were found to improve reading abilities and students' attitudes about reading. Among the findings:
  • 61% of elementary school students said they remembered characters and plots better when reading large print books.
  • 48% of high school students said they read more outside of school after experiencing large print books.
  • Middle school students reported a 43% reduction in feelings of anxiety about reading when using the large print format.
Evans, J. (2019).  Advancing literacy through large print. independence, KY: Thorndike.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Information-Seeking Behavior Study

Children are more likely to look for answers to their questions online than to ask their parents, according to a survey of 15,226 people in 10 countries by Lenovo. Many parents also said they look online to help their children with homework assignments, most often in math. Globally, three-quarters of parents said their children would turn to the internet first. That was highest in India (89 percent) and China (85 percent) and lowest in Germany (54 percent).

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Reasons to Read Books

The World Economic Forum provides five research-based reasons why reading books is good for you:  longer life, more efficient knowledge gain, greater literacies, better vocabulary, better brain maintenance. For details, read

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

SEL Efforts Report

Major meta-analyses examined the short- and long-term effects of universal, school-based SEL programs across 265 reports on student outcomes in six domains: social and emotional skills, attitudes toward self and others, positive social behavior, conduct problems, emotional distress, and academic performance. The report describes several SEL efforts and their impact. The researcher also gives advice for educators training SEL.
Weissberg, R. P. (2019). Promoting the social and emotional learning of millions of school children. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14(1), 65-69.

Social-emotional competence

This research review found that SEL is important for healthy development, facilitates in the behavior change process, and predicts important adult life outcomes. SEL can be improved with feasible, cost-effective interventions. Researchers developed an intervention model that enhances SEL, starting in preschool. Curriculum should include interpersonal and interpersonal competence, risk reduction, resistance skills, and ways to improve school climate. 

Domitrovich, C. E., Durlak, J. A., Staley, K. C., & Weissberg, R. P. (2017). Social‐emotional competence: An essential factor for promoting positive adjustment and reducing risk in school children. Child Development, 88(2), 408-416.